Russia is testing its global internet disconnection

Cyber ​​security exercises were conducted, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersantwhich evokes the scenario of a defensive initiative decided by Moscow or a measure imposed from outside.

Correspondent in Moscow

In the context of the war in Ukraine and, therefore, the increase in sanctions, but also the multiplication of cyber attacks, Moscow is preparing for its possible disconnection from the global Internet, be it a defensive initiative decided by the Russian authorities or a measure imposed from outside.

An isolation of the Russian internet from the rest of the world was considered by the Kremlin last March, after the launch of the “special military operation” in Ukraine, according to the newspaper Kommersant🇧🇷 It also reveals that several cybersecurity exercises were carried out this year with the participation of banks, telecom operators and the largest internet companies to test the ability of the Russian network to operate autonomously.

Traffic redirection to Asia

Exercises justified by the geopolitical situation, analyzes the Kommersant🇧🇷 Cited by the newspaper, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernychenko says the number of cyber attacks has increased by 80% this year🇧🇷 “If last year the financial sector was the main target, this year it is the public sector that is in the crosshairs”, emphasizes Dmitry Chernychenko.

Faced with these threats, an Internet disconnection plan was considered in the spring by the Russian operator Rostelecom, indicates the Kommersant who claims, quoting an expert, that “If Russia is cut off from European exchange points, it will redirect internet traffic to Asia.” Several times evoked by Vladimir Putin, the project of an Internet “sovereignhas been overshadowed in recent months by restrictions on access to certain websites (Twitter and Instagram in particular). A digital isolation of Russia, to the extent possible, would also risk heightening state control over personal data and individual freedoms, some experts and human rights defenders fear.

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Ignored Constraints

From outside Russia, several Internet traffic access providers (such as LINX) have already disconnected their services from Rostelecom or MegaFon. On the other hand, “American cloud provider Clouflare has refused to work in the Russian Federation and the State Department has asked not to disconnect Russia from the internet”, write the Kommersant🇧🇷 For the major state actors, and in particular the intelligence services, the possibility of obtaining information continues to be preferable to the absence of data…

As early as last March, Russian authorities took steps to protect state-owned websites: all websites, in particular those of public services, were obliged to switch to Russian domain names, abandon hosting abroad and strengthen their password policy. But, after six months, these constraints are proving to be largely circumvented, namely by regional state websites that continue to use codes downloaded from abroad, says the Kommersant🇧🇷 Having as an explanation, continues the newspaper, the fact in particular that the foreseen fines remain minimal, in the order of 5000 rubles (approximately 83 euros at the current rate).

Furthermore, the disconnection of the Russian Internet segment from the World Wide Web would have consequences for the connectivity of the entire global network, explain experts such as Ivan Begtin, who underlines, for example, that “Traffic from Kazakhstan and parts of Asian countries passes through the Russian Federation.” Although there are closed models of the Internet, in Iran or China, this specialist considers a “to switch off(closure) of unlikely Russia, leaning more towards a “internal hardening and access restrictions”.

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